ColossalCon 8 Live Blog – Female Stereotypes
Most females in anime/manga will fall into one of the following three categories.
- Moe – don’t do a whole lot
The panel was led by the same person as the earlier one, but with three females that were involved in the industry.
Mellisa Fahn. It is interesting because she has had a chance to play many of those types and often plays children. She sometimes plays the angry teen or the stoic suc h as in Digimon. A lot of times she needs to draw upon her experiences as a woman since they sometimes just give you the name and a picture of the character.
Michelle Ruff. The next speaker says that the Japanese culture is really good at stereotyping. Everything has it’s socket and each girl fits into a certain role and the outcome will be the same. This means you know what you’re in for. As women in animation she needs to bring the best she can and play that character full out which often means playing that stereotype and just go for it.
Back to Melissa. It’s easy to fall into the stereotype but you need to bring that extra little bit of integrity and individuality into playing the character.
Christina Vee. Even though a lot of times there’s the stereotype having the individuality really helps. There needs to be a certain vulnerability about the character so there’s something to like about the character. Even the strong characters will have something to drive them such as a tragic past.
Back to the main speaker.
There’s an interesting thing where when you watch anime you see a lot of things that crop up. It’s not just the sound but the look of the character – body type and hair color also affect the character types. Cosplayers will have different expectations based on what they are wearing day to day.
Michelle. When she started out she was always picked out as the tomboy character. She’s played a lot of various roles now so she usually gets approached with a lot more respect. Generally people are really respectful.
Melissa. No one has really said “Oh, you don’t look like what I expected.” Everyone gives a lot of respect.
Conventions are really amazing because there is a lot of respect.
Speaker. Question – what is the hardest to find the individuality of the character?
Melissa. “It’s too early! I need some coffee!” The first thing that comes to mind is the strong type. Changing the vocal quality or giving it a little different placement or background can help change the character.
Michelle. The straight leading character is harder. It’s easier to hit the extremes. The teenage angst. It’s easy to be the over-the-top extremes. The neutral characters are the hardest for her.
Christina. Some of the shallow characters are really hard and it takes a while to get the character to really develop.
Melissa. At the beginning the producers were not sure about the character Rukia, but she just had them give her time to find the character herself.
Back to speaker. She runs cosplay competitions and found it interesting that people go toward certain stereotypes based on what they want to show and not necessarily a reflection of themselves. It is interesting to see a lot of girls who go for a reverse kind of stereotype. Next question – what do you like/dislike about the stereotypes of female personalities?
Michelle. She wants to get in touch with the tomboy since she is more of a girly girl. She feels she can bring certain characters to life.
Christina. She feels that a lot of times the female characters really drive the show. In Macross Frontier the female storylines focus on human connections.
Melissa. When she first started out she was judgemental about the characters but over the years she no longer judges and now embraces it. This helps her in real life to embrace people and not judge people right from the start. There’s always something for her to learn from someone else.
Christina. Anime is open to a lot of different people and is not playing toward a certain type of person. It has the ability to be for everyone which is why she really likes anime.
Melissa. It is liberating to portray all these different characters. As a woman with her voice it takes years to gain respect since people would think that she was not that intelligent. She has gained a lot of respect over the years. It took years to embrace it and use it as her livelihood. She doesn’t always get to interact with other actors and it is difficult to record first.
Michelle. Now in our culture more than ever there is more of an acceptance for different things. She hopes that there is a lot of different things coming together where people just come together with lesss stereotypes. Anime can help open up people’s minds to less judgemental behavior.
Speaker. Throughout all the stereotypes such as Sailor Moon being a ditz she later has all the powers. You have females which seemingly through the show are dependent but at the end really drive the story and are the impetus.
Michelle. A couple of things that come to mind is Rukia. She comes out as the strong one but then Ichigo takes her powers and then becomes the one who saves the day. The series then comes full circle with Rukia getting her powers back. In culture today there are mixed signals as to what women should do. The woman should be the breadwinner and the nurturer so it becomes a push and pull between different roles. It is ok to be strong, have a career, but still be the nurturer.
Melissa. She’s doing the second season of Blue Dragon and she has to record double the lines because one version is uncut while one is for broadcast.
Christina. There’s an interesting dynamic for some characters because there is a power struggle.
Michelle. Yoko from Gurren Lagann is one of the ones that breaks stereotypes. She starts out as really strong but then has some vulnerabilities.
Christina. Nonoha is the really cute girl but uses that to get other people to like her.
Melissa. If you have the vulnerability go with it. She was going through a tough time which coincided with the character trait so she could really draw upon her personal experience.